From Grassroots to Global Impact: Lenovo’s Journey to Sustainability

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By Mark Thomsen, Sustainability Project Manager, Lenovo

Earth Day gives us an annual reminder to appreciate what our teams around the world do every day, reflect upon the progress we’ve made and identify the continued work we have to do.

Collectively, small things add up to make a big impact. Think about riding a bike or carpooling to work, recycling, using reusable shopping bags and even making your home more energy efficient. We think that way too. As a large, global company, we’re working to make a difference in many ways, from environmental initiatives and certifications to innovations.

Similar to product design, sustainability innovation can happen incrementally or rapidly. We use the same purposeful approach to sustainability as we do for product innovation; each decision must advance our efforts to make products and operations more sustainable, from the cradle to the grave.

 Here’s a look at just a few of the things we’ve been working on lately:

  • In February 2017, we announced a breakthrough manufacturing process that uses low temperature soldering to reduce carbon emissions by 35 percent. We expect this process to save 5,956 metric tons of CO2, which is equivalent to consuming 670,170 gallons of gasoline each year. Our R&D teams in Japan developed this solution. We’re planning to make the new procedure available to the whole industry free-of-charge in 2018.
  • Across Europe, our offices support the European Union’s (EU) energy and climate targets by implementing the ISO 50001 energy management system, which means our Europe offices are all meeting the EU’s energy and climate targets. This system is important in helping the EU’s efforts to achieve a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 20 percent of energy usage from renewables, and 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency. The rigorous energy management systems we’ve installed demonstrate our commitment to reducing emissions and energy efficiency.
  • We joined forces with Compal Electronics to form the LCFC, a facility that offers high-tech production and services worldwide. Located in Heifei, China, the LCFC uses raw material preparation and other smart manufacturing methods to help us reach our climate change policy goals. In the past year, we installed a photovoltaic project that will generate 3,900,000 kWh of power annually. The project will save approximately 1560 tons of coal usage per year and reduce 3900 tons of carbon emission – that’s equal to planting about 210,000 trees.
  • Our design team in Shenzen, China created new packaging for ThinkVision that allows customers to choose between using expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam cushion or pulp cushion on most of our new QHD monitors. Pulp cushion is made from recycled paper, making it easier to recycle and reuse than EPS or EPE material.
  • Through our partnership with ClimeCo we purchased carbon offsets, Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs) and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) that are supporting 100 percent renewable energy projects in China, Europe and the United States.

We’re also celebrating Earth Day in our offices around the world this week. In Brazil, we’re using our local communication channels to reflect on how we can all be more environmentally conscious and understand how we can help manage the Earth’s natural resources, on a personal level and as Lenovians. At our headquarters in Research Triangle Park, we are holding a series of activities, including an electronics recycling event, SWAP meet and book recycling event and a seed giveaway for the green thumbs. Our most popular Earth Day event is Electronics Recycling Day, where we encourage employees to recycle unneeded electronics—we expect to collect more than 12 tons of electronic recyclables during the event.

To read more about our sustainability efforts and process, check out our latest Sustainability Report.